USAID Administrator Mark Green's Opening Statement Before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

 

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN:  Great, thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Lowey, and Members of the Subcommittee, many of whom I served with - it's good to see all of you again. 

As former foreign policy and defense leaders have often said, and as was cited in the opening remarks, in a world as complex as ours, with our national security under greater threat than perhaps ever before, we need to be able to deploy the entirety of our statecraft toolbox.  This must include our most sophisticated development and humanitarian tools.  At USAID we embrace this mission. 

One sign of this is our close working relationship with DOD.  We currently have 26 staff serving with America's military men and women in our combatant commands and the Pentagon.  DOD in turn, has assigned 16 officers and representatives, to work alongside our staff in supporting development priorities. 

In response to the recent disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean, DOD supported our disaster assistance response teams.  In Syria, our stabilization and humanitarian experts are working hand in glove with DOD and State to help stabilize Raqqa and to allow for the safe return of displaced families. 

But beyond this formal collaboration, our skills and expertise in humanitarian operations and international development help our nation respond to, counter, and prevent a long list of ever-growing threats.  Our development initiatives address conditions, which left unchecked, can lead to the kind of frustration and despair that transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups, often try to exploit. 

Furthermore, USAID's work responds to the challenges often arising from displacement of families and communities. We counter the conditions that often drive mass migration, including into the U.S. 

Third, we help strategic allies respond to the burdens of hosting displaced families.  We also work to repair the fabric of countries and communities torn apart by conflict and war, in ways that will hopefully solidify military success.  In particular, we know helping the most vulnerable, and the most targeted has to be a big part of this strategy. 

When religious and ethnic minorities are attacked, such as Christians and other minorities in Iraq, we rally local and international civil society, and the private sector, to join us.  We don't have all the answers to such complex problems, that's why, in the case of Iraq, as many of you know, I am able to announce that we have issued a Broad Agency Announcement.  This is a process to gather innovative ideas from the public, including the affected communities themselves, on ways to support the safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons in Ninewa. 

There are also concrete ways beyond our development role which contribute to national security.  For example, USAID plays a key role in the interagency international strategy to prevent and mitigate the threat of infectious disease outbreaks, epidemics, and anti-microbial resistance under the global health security agenda.  As another example, we help counter illicit activities from trafficking in persons to trafficking in wildlife, which criminal and terrorist organizations often leverage to fund their operations. 

Mr. Chairman and Members, at USAID, we do take our role as stewards of tax payer resources very seriously.  To that end, we are taking a number of employee led reforms that will boost both our effectiveness and our efficiency.  Because responding to the growing number of humanitarian crises is a core part, I believe, of American global leadership, we are working to elevate and refine our humanitarian assistance efforts.  Because we don't believe that traditional development assistance is always the most effective approach to our work, we are reinvigorating our engagement with the private sector. 

We aim to move beyond mere contracting and grant-making towards true collaboration with the private sector.  And that means soliciting outside ideas and opportunities in program design, technology adaptation, and even co-financing where we can.  As part of this, we're also undertaking steps that we hope will bring new partners to our work, by reaching out beyond our relatively small group of traditional partners.  Because we don't believe that assistance should ever be seen by our partners as inevitable, or a substitute for what they should take on themselves, we've made clear that the purpose of our assistance should be to end the need for its existence. 

I'm asking our team to measure our work by how far each investment moves us closer to the day when we can explore transitioning away from a traditional development relationship.  We would not walk away from our work, or our prior investments, but seek to forge a new bilateral partnership that serves the strategic interests of both countries. 

To help our partners in their development journey, we will aim to prioritize programs that incentivize reform, strengthen in-country capacity, and mobilize domestic resources. 

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, while our nation is facing many challenges, as you have laid out, you can be confident that the men and women of USAID are providing many of the programs and tools that will indeed make our country stronger, safer, and more prosperous in the years ahead.  And we are doing so while embracing our role as good stewards of tax payer resources.  The resources generously provided through this Subcommittee from the generosity of the American people. 

Mr. Chairman, thank you and I welcome your questions.

Washington, D.C.

Last updated: November 01, 2017

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